Congrats to the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. As a Laker fan, I hate to see the Spurs get their third title in 7 years...but they deserve it. They are a deserving champion. It is a team coached by a classy Greg Popovich....with solid team guys like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. The kind of team you can take home to your mother. A team with guys named Rasho Nesterovic, Beno Udrih, Nazr Mohammed and Manu Ginobili.
Is this a dynasty?? Ahh...no, not yet. I mean, their three titles were spread out over a span of 7 years...and the 1999 team and the 2005 team look nothing alike [save Pop, Duncan and the uniforms]. Even the arena has changed from the Alamodome to the SBC Center. However, if they win it next year..then this is a dynamic period.
However, this does validate the Spurs in a way. Their 1999 title is astericked [by many] by the fact it was just a 50 game regular season, they played the #8-seeded Knicks in the Finals and the defending champion Chicago Bulls were taken apart in the offseason. The 2003 title was looked down upon as a bad Finals against the Nets. Also, many people still see the Lakers as the dynasty in this era...due to their three consecutive titles and the fact that the Lakers ended the Spurs seasons several times in that span [of course, the Spurs technically ended LA's reign in the 2003 Western semis].
But, there is no denying that the Spurs are in the elite NBA status of teams. Only the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls have won more NBA titles than San Antonio [the Sixers, Warriors and Pistons also have 3 titles]. Tim Duncan could replace Karl Malone as the greatest power forward in NBA history. A team that is made in David Stern's mind of multinational players, team defense and, at times, exciting offense.
We saw a very good NBA Finals. Despite two somewhat boring teams [read: fundamental] and four straight blowouts...the final three games turned into classics. Tim Duncan joins a list that includes Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal as the only 3-time winners of the NBA Finals MVP.
We saw Robert Horry win his sixth NBA championship....becoming only the second player to ever win titles with 3 different organizations [Houston, Los Angeles, San Antonio]. And it wasn’t a John Salley-esque globbing on to win a title....Horry only hit what may be the biggest shot in Spurs history.
We saw an ugly incident in Detroit...where Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal and other Indiana Pacers get into a full brawl with fans of the Palace Of Auburn Hills.
We saw the new-look NBA. Complete with six divisions...including the new Southeast, Southwest and Northwest divisions [and nixing the Midwest division].
We saw a new NBA franchise enter the mix...the Charlotte Bobcats. Next season, they will debut their new downtown arena.
We saw the Lakers and Timberwolves miss the playoffs...but the Bulls, Wizards and Supersonics make postseason runs.
We saw Steve Nash...a shaggy haired guard from Canada...win the NBA’s MVP trophy. We saw Shaq in Miami...and Kobe Bryant on his own with the Lakers. We saw Reggie Miller shoot his last NBA jump shot.
We saw over one-third of the NBA’s head coaches lose their jobs this season.
We saw the passing of the original NBA superstar, George Mikan. Death always brings reflection...and Mikan’spassing brought back memories of the early days of the NBA, before the multimillion dollar contracts and endorsement deals.
We saw months of a lockout speculation end at the final weeks of the playoffs with a new collective bargaining agreement.
And, in the end, what we saw was excellent basketball. Despite what naysayers spew, the NBA has a great future...and a great present. How great a league is it that Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James couldn’t even get into the playoffs?? I mean, the emergence of guys like LeBron, Dwayne Wade, Amare Stoudemire and Emeka Okafor [among others] just goes to show that the NBA is still fantastic!
The people who smack on the NBA just don't know what they are missing.